Employees place a high value on socializing at work. This includes up to 88 percent of those in their 20’s and 30’s and about 60 percent of boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964. In an ideal workplace culture, fun and socializing are catalysts to everyone on the team doing their job better and more efficiently.
Fun Builds Retention
Does having fun at work make employees more or less effective? Research on the topic is mixed, but most conclusions support the premise that encouraging fun is a positive approach as long as it doesn’t threaten key business results.
- A November 2013 study showed that having fun at work increased retention but had the potential to hurt productivity. While the old-school concept of negative feedback to push for higher outcomes is long gone, employers need to teach employees how to avoid turning work into an all-day party.
- Organized workplace fun is most effective when employees are open to it and know how to handle it. It may not jive with everyone’s work style. But for many, it’s key to forging meaningful relationships that make them look forward to coming to work each day.
- The opposite of play isn’t work. It’s depression and demotivation. Once organizations understand that work and play can coexist, they uncover a great secret that can enhance their reputation as the most sought-after place to work on the market.
Striking the Right Balance
Laughter and fun in the workplace can lead to better results, more creative solutions, higher morale and fewer absences – all key factors to long-term retention and success. The key is for employees to stay focused and on task, without taking their work too seriously. As an employer, it’s up to you to lead the way.
- Hire employees with high energy. Find creative people who enjoy life and have a natural ability to play well with others. Their presence will change workplace dynamics and get others to loosen up.
- Break down walls – literally. Try rearranging work spaces so they’re more open. This not only destroys physical walls, but it also breaks down hierarchy barriers. You can still have quiet rooms for breaks, confidential meetings and specialized, high-intensity project work. You might even consider a recreation area with table tennis or an outdoor basketball court where employees can step away from creative roadblocks.
- Encourage socialization. The California firm Thumbtack, which connects consumers with professional services online, has its employees sit together family style for lunches prepared by a professional chef. Google has led the social-workplace revolution as its employees glide around the building on scooters and climb ladders between floors. They design their own work stations with treadmills and tinker toys. Among all this, innovation happens daily through interaction and collaboration.
You may not be able to go to these extremes, but think creatively about how to help your employees balance socialization with getting the job done. You may find that the results are nothing short of stunning.
To learn more about developing your workforce for maximum performance, satisfaction and productivity, read our related posts or contact the expert team at PrideStaff Modesto today.